Ellen G. White: The Lonely Years: 1876-1891 (vol. 3)


The Remarkable Revival in Battle Creek

It was just after this, in Battle Creek, that the real breakthrough came. J. O. Corliss, Jones, and Ellen White led out in the meetings of the Week of Prayer. It was scheduled from December 15 to 22—but it lasted a month. As the week opened, Ellen White, because of infirmities of the moment, dared not leave the Sanitarium. So she began her work there, with physicians, nurses, and the rest of the Sanitarium staff. Jones and Corliss held meetings at the Tabernacle, the publishing house, and the college. Reported Ellen White in the Review: 3BIO 420.1

The revival services held during the Week of Prayer and since that time have accomplished a good work in the Battle Creek church. Elders A. T. Jones, J. O. Corliss, and others took an active part in conducting the meetings. The principal topic dwelt upon was justification by faith, and this truth came as meat in due season to the people of God. The living oracles of God were presented in new and precious light.... 3BIO 420.2

The truth as it is in Jesus, accompanied by divine energy, has been brought before the people, and we have reason to praise God that it has been with marked effect upon the church. The work of deep heart searching has been gradually going forward. Many have sought the Lord with confession of sins and contrition of soul, and have been blessed and made joyful by the God of their salvation. Those who have hitherto been almost destitute of faith have discerned its simplicity, and have been enabled to lay hold of the promises of God.—The Review and Herald, February 12, 1889. 3BIO 420.3

The meetings held daily in the college were reported as intensely interesting, with the Spirit of the Lord working upon hearts. 3BIO 420.4

At the Sanitarium, Ellen White met with such members of the staff who could be freed from their duties each morning at five-thirty. “I had much freedom,” she wrote, “in speaking to the workers from the various departments.... There were many whose minds had been clouded with doubt, but the light received from the explanation of Scripture encouraged their faith, while the truth was revealed to their minds and hearts in a light in which they had never before seen it.”—Ibid. 3BIO 420.5

At the publishing house, meetings were held daily from twelve to one o'clock. As the week progressed and she gained strength, she was able to slip down and meet with the workers. Of her experience there, which refreshed her soul, she wrote: 3BIO 420.6

Many good testimonies were borne, and it made my heart glad to see those who had been connected with the publishing work for a period of thirty years rejoice as young converts rejoice in their first love. They expressed their gladness and gratitude of heart for the sermons that had been preached by A. T. Jones; they saw the truth, goodness, mercy, and love of God as they never before had seen it.... 3BIO 421.1

There were many who testified that they were free in the Lord—not free from temptations, for they had these to contend with every day, but they believed that their sins were forgiven. Oh, how we long to have every soul come out into the liberty of the sons of God!—Ibid. 3BIO 421.2

From day to day Ellen White spelled out in her diary many of the activities, and the progress that was made toward spiritual victory. 3BIO 421.3

Thursday at 5:00 P.M. I spoke to the college students. The Lord gave me the word which seemed to reach hearts. Professor Prescott arose and attempted to speak, but his heart was too full. There he stood five minutes in complete silence, weeping. When he did speak he said, “I am glad I am a Christian.” He made very pointed remarks. His heart seemed to be broken by the Spirit of the Lord. I invited those who had not accepted the truth, and those who had not the evidence of their acceptance with God, to come forward. It seemed that the whole company were on the move.... 3BIO 421.4

Thursday night I spoke at the Tabernacle, and many bore precious testimonies that the Lord had forgiven their sins and given them a new heart. The words of truth spoken by Elder Jones had been blessed to their souls.—Manuscript 25, 1888. 3BIO 421.5

Sabbath was the last day of the Week of Prayer. Ellen White wrote: 3BIO 421.6

Elder Jones spoke in the forenoon with great freedom. The message the Lord has given him to bear has taken hold upon his soul and the souls of those who have heard and received the light which the Lord has given them. 3BIO 421.7

In the afternoon I spoke to the people and then there was a social meeting. Many confessed that they were much blessed during the Week of Prayer.—Ibid. 3BIO 422.1

But the revival was just well under way, and much the same program was continued. Sunday just before noon she was called down to the publishing house to address the workers at the noon hour. In the afternoon Jones spoke in the Tabernacle. Ellen White continues her account: 3BIO 422.2

In the evening, listened to another discourse from Brother Jones upon the love of God. Soul-stirring truths were uttered, and many in that large congregation were fed with the Bread of Life and their hearts were awakened to more earnest activity and zeal.—Ibid. 3BIO 422.3

About this time she declared: 3BIO 422.4

Wherever this message [righteousness by faith] comes, its fruits are good. A vigor and a vital energy are brought into the church, and where the message is accepted, there hope and courage and faith beam in the countenances of all those who open their eyes to see, their understanding to perceive, and their hearts to receive the great treasure of truth.—Manuscript 24, 1888.

Such was the case in Battle Creek. Ellen White addressed herself to practical topics. On Sabbath, December 29, she arose early and engaged in prayer and reading, and in writing a discourse for the people: 3BIO 422.5

I spoke in afternoon from Isaiah 58 upon the Sabbath and the many ways the Lord could be robbed. Read in regard to robbing God in tithes and offerings. Called the people forward for prayers.—Manuscript 25, 1888. 3BIO 422.6

Sunday evening she spoke in the Tabernacle to a well-filled house, dwelling particularly on evil speaking and its sure results. 3BIO 422.7

All these sins of which we have been guilty must be removed, and all this robbery of God must be repented of and the rubbish removed from the door of the heart.... 3BIO 422.8

Brother Winslow was coming to the light. Said he had been to some whom he had wronged and made confession, and the Lord blessed him. Brother Lucas and his wife came forward and made confessions. Brother Lucas said he had not paid his tithes; he had robbed God of $500 which he would pay into the treasury in a short time. Our meeting continued until past ten o'clock. The Spirit of the Lord was working upon the hearts.—Ibid. 3BIO 423.1

The next day found Ellen White calling on several families in personal work, including Oren Frisbie and his wife and the Lucas family. Writing of it, she commented, “The Lord is certainly at work, subduing and purifying the hearts of all who choose to be fully on the Lord's side.—Ibid. She visited the Lucas family again on January 2, 1889, and noted in her diary: 3BIO 423.2

He has paid no tithe for two years and he was becoming a changed man in spirituality because he was robbing God. He gave me a note for the treasury of God for $571.50. He recounted up all the interest, and faithfully paid an honest tithe. Then he was happy.—Manuscript 17, 1889. 3BIO 423.3

Others were visited also, some giving their notes for withheld tithe, to be paid soon. Ellen White wrote to Mary on Sunday, January 6, picking up a letter she had started two weeks before: 3BIO 423.4

I have tried to get at it to finish this letter, but I could not do it. There would be private testimonies to write and many to counsel with and sometimes I have spoken at three different assemblies each day, but the Lord has wonderfully sustained me. The work of God is seen in our midst. Meetings have been held now four weeks and many souls have a true conversion. They say they never knew what the converting power of God was before. 3BIO 423.5

Sabbath, yesterday, was a precious day indeed. I talked to a full house, and the blessing of the Lord rested upon me in large measure, and the whole congregation was moved....Oh, what a changed atmosphere from four weeks ago. Jesus indeed was present.—Letter 83, 1889. 3BIO 423.6

In concluding her report of the victorious experience in the Review and Herald of February 12, she exclaimed: “May the good work begun in the Battle Creek church be carried onward and upward till every soul shall be consecrated, purified, refined, and fitted for the society of heavenly angels!” But this wish was not to see fulfillment, for some who had been at Minneapolis and had resisted the light given there still held back. 3BIO 423.7

The decision in response to light is a personal one, and some took the wrong course. Wrote Ellen White: 3BIO 424.1

The blessings of that Week of Prayer extended through the church. Confessions were made. Those who had robbed God in tithes and in offerings confessed their wrong and made restitution, and many were blessed of God who had never felt that God had forgiven their sins. All these precious fruits evidenced the work of God.... The Lord wrought in our midst, but some did not receive the blessing.—Manuscript 30, 1889. 3BIO 424.2

Ellen White and others rejoiced when, as the subject of righteousness by faith was presented at the various meetings through 1889, some of those who had taken a firm stand in resistance at Minneapolis saw their true condition, repented, and joined their brethren. 3BIO 424.3

But what of those who, in firm self-complacency, resisted light and truth in the face of clear evidence? They paid a price, of which Ellen White wrote later: 3BIO 424.4

I have been shown that not one of the company who cherished the spirit manifested at that meeting would again have clear light to discern the preciousness of the truth sent them from heaven until they humbled their pride and confessed that they were not actuated by the Spirit of God, but that their minds and hearts were filled with prejudice. The Lord desired to come near to them, to bless them and heal them of their backslidings, but they would not hearken. They were actuated by the same spirit that inspired Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.—Letter 2a, 1892. 3BIO 424.5